NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday asked nine banks that are receiving federal funds as part of the government's financial rescue plan to provide his office with information about expected bonuses and compensation to be paid their top executives.
In separate letters Wednesday, Cuomo's office requested a "detailed accounting" of expected payments to top management in the upcoming bonus season. He is looking for information from banks that have received or are expected to receive funds under the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
The banks are: Bank of America Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley Inc., State Street Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co.
"In particular, it is vital that you immediately provide us with any and all information concerning your firm's expected bonus pool for this year, both prior to and after you understood that the firm would be a recipient of taxpayer funds pursuant to the Troubled Asset Relief Program," Cuomo said in one letter. "Obviously, we will have grave concern if your expected bonus pool has increased in any way as a result of your receipt or expected receipt of taxpayer funds."
The information requests are part of an ongoing probe by Cuomo's office into executive compensation on Wall Street.
Recently, Cuomo asked insurance giant American International Group Inc. to provide his office with details about executive compensation and other expenditures paid out as it neared collapse earlier this year.
AIG recently received credit lines of up to $122.8 billion from the federal government, helping it to avoid collapse.
Last week, AIG agreed to freeze some $19 million in payments to former Chief Executive Martin Sullivan and to not distribute any funds from its $600 million deferred compensation and bonus pools of its AIG Financial Products subsidiary, which Cuomo has said was largely responsible for the company's near collapse.
In his letters Wednesday, Cuomo also asked for details from the banks of bonuses awarded to any employees receiving more than $250,000 in compensation in 2006 and in 2007.
The attorney general requested that the banks provide his office with details about policies, procedures and protections in place to review company expenditures going forward and actions each company's board of directors plan to take to protect taxpayer funds. He wants the information by Nov. 5.
"In this new era of corporate responsibility we are entering, boards of directors must step up to the plate and prevent wasteful expenditures of corporate funds on outsized executive bonuses and other unjustified compensation."